About Shiraito Waterfall (Shiraito-no-taki [白糸の滝])
The Shiraito Waterfall (shiraito-no-otaki [白糸の滝]; “White Thread Falls”) was an impressively wide spring-fed waterfall stretching some 70m in width and about 3m in height over that stretch.
Not to be confused with the similarly-named waterfall on the slopes of Mt Fuji, this particular one was located near Karuizawa.
Karuizawa is typically an upscale ski resort that well-to-do people from Tokyo would go to, especially since there’s public transportation to get here.
However, in the Summer (we showed up in July 2023), it seemed like this waterfall was one of the main draws to the resort as we easily shared this place with maybe around a hundred others.
Indeed, even though we self-drove here, it’s possible to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Karuizawa Station, and then take the bus from there to this waterfall’s car park for a 5-minute walk.
I’d imagine the convenient access further exacerbated this place’s popularity though we also encountered plenty of self-drivers as well (given how busy its car park was).
There were also tour buses to add to the tourist crush so indeed, this is not the kind of place to be seeking a true back to Nature experience.
Speaking of the Nature, the Karuizawa Shiraito Waterfall’s spring is fed from precipitation falling into Mt Asama before seeping underground into aquifers.
It’s said that it takes 6 years for the water to travel through the groundwater system before re-emerging as springs at this waterfall.
Therefore, it’s also said that this stream never dries up (even in the icy winter months) because the water’s temperature tends to stay constant at 11.8 degrees C.
It’s believed that this relatively warm water temperature for a mountain stream is largely due to geothermal heating around Mt Asama, which is still geologically active.
As for experiencing the Shiraito Falls, from the car park (see directions below), it was a mere 200-300m walk in each direction to the viewing area.
The walk pretty much followed along the stream, and its constant moisture gave rise to walls of ferns pretty much lining the entire walk.
Meanwhile, the car park itself had a pretty happening food stand and toilet facility so it definitely felt like one of the more commercialized waterfalls that we’ve been to.
Anyways, our visit was pretty short and sweet as we spent less than an hour away from the car, but of that time, I’d bet barely 15 minutes of that time was spent walking.
Finally, I did notice signage mentioning that there are other waterfalls in the Karuizawa vicinity such as Sengataki (千ヶ滝) and Ryugaeshi (竜返しの滝).
However, on our July 2023 visit, we just focused on the Shiraito Waterfall, and perhaps on the next visit, I’ll have the time to pursue the others and do a write-up about them.
The Karuizawa Shiraito Waterfall resides near the town of Karuizawa in the Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It may be administered by local authorities from Karuizawa. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting the Karuizawa Tourist Association website.
Karuizawa is kind of a destination for a lot of visitors so in this part of the write-up, I’ll use this as the base of directions.
In order to route to Karuizawa, there are numerous routing apps that you can use to get to this town from wherever you’re starting at (and this included Google Maps, which works in Japan).
In our particular situation, we were coming from the Yonako Great Falls car park, and it took us just under 2 hours to go the 73km distance.
In that stretch, we had to pass through Onioshidashi Volcanic Park, which meant we had to pay quite a bit in tolls (likely over 1000 yen worth).
Then, we had to pay another 500 yen to park at the Shiraito Falls.
As for driving from the Karuizawa Train Station to the Shiraito Falls, first we’d have to drive north on the Route 146 for nearly 13km (there’s a toll booth about 2.5km from the station).
Then, we’d turn right onto the well-signed access road to the Shiraito Waterfall and follow it for the remaining 2.5km to the car park.
Overall, this drive should take no more than 30 minutes.
For some geographical context, Karuizawa was about 43km (an hour drive) south of Kusatsu Onsen, 92km (about 1.5 hours drive) southeast of Nagano, 131km (about 2 hours drive) east of Matsumoto, and 155km (about 2.5 hours drive) northwest of Tokyo.
Find A Place To Stay
Related Top 10 Lists
No Posts Found
Trip Planning Resources
Featured Images and Nearby Attractions
Visitor Comments:Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...
No users have replied to the content on this page
Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...
No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall